Business_news An Instagram influencer on how she got free products from brands and a vacation from Disney without millions of followers


Social-media influencers can still profit off their digital brands even if they don’t have millions of followers.

Although Instagram influencers don’t get paid directly by the platform, like YouTube creators do, they are still able to earn money, or get free stuff, by advertising products to their followers online through brand sponsorships.

Jehava Brown, who has 70,000 Instagram followers and blogs about motherhood, food, travel, and style on her account “Onlygirl4boyz,” earns a six-figure income entirely off her brand by promoting products, she told business Insider.

Brown said influencer sponsorships look different depending on both the brand and how popular the influencer is on social media. She said that when she was just starting out, brands would send her products for free in exchange for promotion, and now that she is more established, companies like Disney have sent her and her family on all-expenses paid trips in exchange for promotion online. Other brands pay her between $1,500 and $2,000 to post on Instagram.

Read more: An Instagram influencer breaks down how much brands pay for sponsored posts, starting at 10,000 followers

How to receive products in exchange for promotion

When Brown was first starting out, she said she would promote a product in exchange for simply receiving it for free.

“A lot of bloggers will find a media contact for whatever brand you are wanting to work with, and just send an email about their pitch and stats,” she said. She said this is a common method that most bloggers and influencers under 100,000 followers will follow and one she used.

In the beginning, there’s lot of, “I’ll share this if you send me those products,” she said. But as you grow, you can start to ask a certain rate for your content.

There are a few networks, like Social Fabric and Social Native, where bloggers or influencers can get started and anyone can apply for these networks if they reach their standard metrics, like pageviews or platform engagement, Brown said. Brands approach these agencies with requests, like how many influencers they are looking to hire for a certain campaign.

Generally, Brown said that, for a blogger, a network required a 10,000 monthly pageview minimum to join.

“They are pretty low pay, but initially it seems like good money,” Brown said. The network takes a portion of the money and the influencers often make around $300 in her experience, she said. At first, this may seem like a lot, but Brown said now that she is more established in the influencer space, she charges between $1,500 and $2,000 for a sponsored Instagram post or Story combination.

Brown said when she used this method, she would apply to promote a specific product, and write a pitch about how she would promote it.

After about a year, she started to work with PR agencies who work directly with brands, which now help her secure the majority of her sponsorship deals. These agencies will pitch her a campaign via email. Working with brands and PR agencies is usually more profitable for her, she said, because she is able to set the price herself based on her rates.

She said that there isn’t a specific method she is aware of for getting your name on these lists from PR agencies, but that generally, it’s more about word of mouth and establishing yourself in the space.

PR agencies “can find you through other networks, or they might just find you through hashtags on Instagram,” she said. “That’s where real money is at.”

From a brand-new washer and dryer to an all-expenses paid cruise with Disney Cruise Line

Influencers, especially those within the beauty category, are sent free products regularly. Brown said she isn’t sent many PR packages, but believes that could be because she falls into the general lifestyle “mommy blogger” category. She said a good amount of packages she now receives are from the brands she is already working with.

Her favorite brand to work with is Disney, which she said worked “over the top” to accommodate her family on their park, cruise line, and Adventures by Disney trips. Recently, Disney sent Brown and her family on a Disney Cruise Line trip, which was paid for entirely by the company, including the flight and food. Brown didn’t charge Disney anything additional for the sponsorship, she said.

“I would never charge Disney because that’s way over my value,” she said.

Other brands she’s enjoyed working with have been companies like Amazon and Whirlpool, she said.

Brown is currently in the middle of a campaign with Whirlpool for their new line of washer and dryer machines, and said the company sent both appliances to her house for her to keep.

“I’ve seen some people get refrigerators, and that is a goal of mine,” she said. “But this is up there.”

For more on the business of being an influencer, and a breakdown of how YouTube creators make their money, check out these business Insider Prime stories below:

The financial adviser to the world’s top-earning YouTube star shares the tips he gives clients to kick start their businesses

A top talent manager breaks down the big trends in how YouTube stars are making money in 2019

YouTube star Shelby Church breaks down how much money a video with 1 million views makes her